Has it really been several weeks since I last blogged? Oh my. October has been a busy month for me (and my family), with preparation for the oncoming winter here in New Mexico, my sister Jennifer’s wedding in California (I just got back on Friday), and now I’m packing and cleaning up before leaving this week for some time with family and friends in Dallas/Fort Worth.
But while I’m chowing down on a ham sub at Subway I thought I would chime in with a thought on my mind today.
Have you ever had a song or bible verse randomly pop into your head? It happens to me all the time. Well, maybe it isn’t as random as we think! The Lord Jesus said that one of the ministries of the Holy Spirit would be to remind His disciples of the things that He has said (John 14:26). But today I was reminded of a verse in the Old Testament, a proclamation of the prophet Jeremiah. But it was the old church song, “The Steadfast Love of the Lord” that came to my mind.
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
His mercies never will come to an end.
They are new every morning! New every morning!
Great is Your faithfulness, O God! Great is Your faithfulness!” (from Lam 3:22-23)
The actual bible passage goes,
“The Lord ʼs loyal kindness never ceases; his compassions never end.
They are fresh every morning; your faithfulness is abundant!
“My portion is the Lord,” I have said to myself, so I will put my hope in him.
The Lord is good to those who trust in him, to the one who seeks him.
It is good to wait patiently for deliverance from the Lord.”
(Lamentations 3:22-26 NET)
I love this proclamation of Jeremiah! Its cultural and historical setting makes it even more amazing.
The prophet lived during a most tumultuous time in Israel’s history. His God-given task was to proclaim the oracles (messages) of God to the king of the Southern Kingdom of Israel, called Judah, during the 6th Century B.C. He was an eyewitness to Babylon’s great destruction of Jerusalem in 586 and the great desolation and hopelessness that followed. He passed the warnings of God to the evil kings of Judah and was rejected over and over again. His was a fruitless ministry. (BTW… Jeremiah is one of the Bible’s characters to be solidly confirmed by archaeology to have existed. Even his scribe, Baruch, has been verified. Several of his kings have also been verified.)
Lamentations takes place after Jerusalem was sacked by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C. Jeremiah was left behind while much of Judah’s elite and able-bodied was taken into exile. Not everyone went east, however. Those who stayed in Israel were subjected to cruelties unimaginable by their Babylonian occupiers. In Lamentations, the prophet poetically captures the grief of Jerusalem as it sees its citizens murdered on the streets, its women going hungry enough to resort to sickening means of food, and its walls and beautiful places demolished, burned and plundered.
What strikes me most about Jeremiah’s great proclamation of the steadfast love (loyal kindness) of the Lord is that it comes in the midst of his darkest hour! Rock bottom. End of his rope. He is depressed beyond depression and he talks of the Lord’s love? How can he do that?! His compassions never end? NEVER END??? Where are they now?
I’ve found it so easy to look at my circumstances and forget who God is and what He has promised to do for those who love Him. He has promised that all things will work for the good of those who love Him, even bad circumstances (Rom 8:28-29). If you believe in Jesus, you are now a son or daughter of God. A beloved son or daughter. God dearly loves you and will see that whatever circumstance in which you find yourself can lead you to become stronger in faith, surer in hope, and deeper in love. But growth only happens if you allow God, through the Holy Spirit, to work in your life through your dark times!
God’s character does not change with your circumstances. He is loyal in his love for you, kind to you, and always willing to provide you relief during your times of distress.
Jeremiah says, “My portion is in the Lord,” and therefore so is his hope. There is no hope of a change in our circumstances apart from God. He alone is sovereign and powerful enough to rearrange time and space. After all… He made both!
So knowing His love for you, knowing His power, and knowing that you have an open channel to talk to Him through prayer… why would you lose hope?
One thing that came to my mind and heart today when I thought of the song, “The Steadfast Love of the Lord” was the certainty of God’s love. His love is steadfast… loyal… kind… compassionate… to those who are called by His name (a.k.a. those who believe in Jesus and are now His adopted sons and daughters).
The idea of God as the taskmaster who pauses His finger above the “Smite” button on his celestial keyboard, just waiting for you to mess up is a horrible, awful, terribly false one! He loves you! And that love renews every morning before you even wake up.
Every morning! New love, new grace (Romans 5:20-21). To you. To me. Great is the faithfulness of God to us!